“F1 could go four-wheel drive”

Pro­posal has drawn mixed re­ac­tion from teams

Motor Sport News - - Headline News - By Matt James Pho­tos: LAT

For­mula 1 chiefs have con­sid­ered a pro­posal to in­tro­duce four­wheel-drive to the sport when the en­gine reg­u­la­tions are up­dated from 2021 on­wards.

It is among the pro­pos­als, which also in­clude sim­pli­fy­ing the hy­brid parts to bring down costs in the sport.

The move would make the cars sim­i­lar to the sys­tem that Porsche uses in the World En­durance Cham­pi­onship, where en­ergy is har­vested from the front axle and then re­de­ployed later in the lap, which makes the car four-wheel-drive at cer­tain points.

The sys­tem has ben­e­fits in al­low­ing cars to fol­low each other more closely to aid over­tak­ing, but it would also in­crease the base weight of the car.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff is in favour of the plan. He said: “There are var­i­ous pos­si­bil­i­ties and front mo­tors is one.

“It’s not that we are ab­so­lutely stuck on im­ple­ment­ing front mo­tors but we have to dis­cuss all pos­si­ble tech­nolo­gies that can com­pen­sate for the lack of power.”

How­ever, not all team heads were in favour of the move. Haas boss Gene Haas said: “It’s the same trap F1 got it­self into when it se­lected this [cur­rent] en­gine.

“It seemed like a sim­ple idea but when you started do­ing the en­gi­neer­ing it be­came very, very com­plex.

“We have to be very care­ful be­fore we say ‘let’s just throw a four-wheeldrive car out there’, be­cause it could be another one of those ones where one team will prob­a­bly hit a home-run and the rest of us will be strug­gling with try­ing to catch up with that.”

Renault F1 man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Cyril Abite­boul said: “Lib­erty will have to take a po­si­tion and to ac­cept maybe to make some peo­ple un­happy.

“It’s go­ing to be dif­fi­cult to make fans, in­de­pen­dent en­gine firms like Cos­worth, teams that do not have a tech­nol­ogy mes­sage like Red Bull, happy, but at the same time keep the man­u­fac­tur­ers, the petrol com­pa­nies and bring new man­u­fac­tur­ers.”

Fer­rari’s Ser­gio Mar­chionne has sug­gested he would not ac­cept a sim­ple en­gine. “The knowl­edge and tech­nol­ogy of the Fer­rari tra­di­tion can not be un­done by the ob­jec­tive to re­duce costs,” he said.

Four-wheel-drive has not been used in F1 since 1971, when Lo­tus fielded a 56B in the Dutch and Ital­ian

Grands Prix, with­out suc­cess.

The Fer­gu­son P99 was one of a small num­ber of 4WD F1 cars Sim­i­lar sys­tem to Porsche’s INWEC could be used in F1

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